One thing did result from the Great Chicago fire: it created a clean slate for the growth of a modern city with steel beamed buildings. The 1893 “White City” of the World Columbian Exposition is claimed by some to have led to a revival of Neo-Classical architecture in Chicago and the entire United States, and the 1909 “ Plan for Chicago” was the first comprehensive city plan in the U.S, and was in a Neo-Classical style. However, Chicago architects used many design styles and belonged to a variety of architectural schools, including the early Chicago style, Neoclassic, Craftsman Style, Prairie Style, Edwardian, Modern, Post-Modern – you can find whatever you are looking for. The architects include such famous men as Daniel Burnham, Mies Van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright.
We started out walking along Michigan Avenue, admiring the Wrigley Building with its decorative elements. The building was designed using the shape of the tower of Seville’s Cathedral combined with French Renaissance details. Then we looked at the neo-Gothic Chicago Tribune building ,
which has blocks of stone from various famous places (the Pyramids, the Alamo, the Great Wall of China, the Parthenon) embedded in the walls and flying buttresses at the top.
We took a 90 minute architecture tour by boat on the Chicago River, which is definitely the way to see the city and the docents are very knowledgeable. Here are some pictures we took along the way to give you a smattering of the variety and grandeur of the buildings. Not to ignore the newest building: Trump Tower!